East Carolina's 25th-ranked baseball team is 2-0, ensuring an opening-weekend series victory over Rhode Island with a 7-1 win Saturday afternoon at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
ECU scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning and stayed in the lead the rest of the way. A two-out, bases-clearing double in the Pirate seventh hit by Connor Norby to right field proved clutch, plating three runs for a 7-1 cushion.
Jake Kuchmaner pitched five scoreless innings, leaving with the Pirates up 3-0.
"Of course with the competitor he is, he's mad at me because we didn't put him back out there for the sixth," ECU coach Cliff Godwin said. "We wanted to get some other guys in the game. ... Trystan Kimmel did a great job, especially after Norby hit the double. That was just a long inning and a lot of times pitchers can maybe lose focus, but I thought he kept his focus to go out in his second inning and put up another zero."
Seth Caddell hit ECU's first home run of the season, pulling it to left field for a solo shot. Bryson Worrell, who finished 0-for-4 with a walk but produced hard contact for the second straight day, almost lifted a homer the previous inning in the bottom of the fourth. The wind blowing in from right field, however, kept it in for a long fly out.
"We hit a lot more balls today on the nose and hard," Godwin said. "Bryson has scorched the ball and he doesn't have anything to show in the box score, which you can't control batting average. You can control quality at-bats, so he's definitely going to be up there for the QAB champ at the end of the weekend with he way he's swinging the bat."
More postgame notes:
- Cam Colmore, who was Friday night's winning pitcher with 16 pitches in 1.2 scoreless innings, came in to start the top of the sixth and fanned the first batter he faced on a sharp slider. He ended allowing an unearned run and a hit, throwing 16 pitches again in his lone inning with two strikeouts.
- Kuchmaner retired 10 straight Rams to consist of most of his outing, starting the run in the second inning until there were two outs in the top of the fifth and he yielded a single. In all, the veteran lefty mixed up his pitches really well throwing mostly in the 80s mph and allowed two hits with no walks and three strikeouts.
"Obviously it feels good and you want to find rhythm," he said. "The thing we work on in the bullpen (before games) is to just find that rhythm. So that is the mindset and it worked out today. ... I didn't think I had my curveball, but I thought we pitched well with it."
- Speedy Lane Hoover scored two runs from the No. 9 spot in the ECU batting order on opening day, then was slotted second in the lineup for Saturday. He went 1-for-3 with a run scored. Thomas Francisco was 1-for-3 with two runs and an RBI as the cleanup hitter.
- Norby finished 3-for-4 as the team's lone multi-hit man and with four RBIs, his career-high for RBIs.